The University of Utah electrical and computer engineering department would like to congratulate this year’s recipients of the John and Marcia Price College of Engineering Awards! Each award is chosen via nomination from peers, staff and faculty within the College.

Below are the awards received by members of the ECE department. To view the full list of awards and recipients, click here.


Outstanding Graduate Dissertation Award

Arkka Bhattacharyya

Arkka Bhattacharyya was awarded the Outstanding Graduate Dissertation Award for his dissertation on power devices with advanced semiconductor materials such as gallium oxide. Bhattacharyya completed his Ph.D. with the department in May of 2022 and was awarded for his dissertation written in his final year of study.

Bhattacharyya’s research activities involve epitaxial growth, device fabrication/processing, and materials characterization for electronic applications used in communications, health, food, defense, space, and energy sectors.

In addition to receiving this award for his dissertation, Bhattacharyya has previously been awarded the Young Researcher Best Paper Award at IWGO 2022 in Japan and the Best Paper Award at the MRS Spring 2021 UWBG Symposium, had articles featured in technology magazines and research journals, and gained various other awards and recognitions for his work.

“It is a great honor to receive this award, and I feel very excited to have my thesis and my work recognized by the Price College of Engineering,” says Bhattacharyya. “This means a lot because my area of research is quite new and not many people know about it, but I believe in this work, so feeling supported by the College is a great thing.”

Bhattacharyya is currently continuing his Ph.D. work as a Post-Doctoral Researcher at UC Santa Barbara developing electronic devices using gallium-oxide.

“There is so much to be done with this technology — it is barely a few years old and I’m excited to continue exploring and pushing this field of research that could ultimately lower global emissions and make electric power usage more efficient and sustainable.”


Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award

Michael Keyser

Michael Keyser was awarded the Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award for his participation in numerous research opportunities and ambition in pursuing new knowledge. During his time as an undergraduate student, Keyser worked in the Cardiovascular Pathomechanics Laboratory with Lucas Timmins prior to finishing his undergraduate degree in the Laboratory for NanoIntegrated Systems working with ECE professor and lab director Pierre-Emmanuel Gaillardon. Keyser is now working on his master’s degree in the Laboratory of Circuits and Systems with ECE professor and lab director Armin Tajilli, studying machine learning and analog integrated circuit design.

Some of Michael’s research endeavors over the course of his time as an undergraduate student include presenting at Research on Capitol Hill, the Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research, the University of Utah Undergraduate research Symposium, submitting to the University of Utah Undergraduate Research Journal, working in various research labs, and more.

“My absolute favorite thing about research is that there is always something new to learn; lots of the problems we look at in this work require complex solutions and multiple skillsets, so you’ll often find yourself expanding your skills,” says Keyser.

In addition to this award and his various research ventures, Keyser received the Best Undergraduate Researcher award for Computer Engineering in December of 2022, and had a first author publication at VLSI-SoC 2022.

“I’m very excited and honored to be recognized for my work by receiving this award,” says Keyser.


Outstanding Graduating Student Leader Award

Bailey Martin

Bailey Martin was awarded the Outstanding Graduating Student Leader Award for her efforts and commitment to the ECE community throughout her time as an undergraduate student. Martin is in her last year of her undergraduate degree in the BS-MS program working in ECE professor Priyank Kalla’s lab with a focus on formal verification problems and programming.

During the pandemic, Martin joined IEEE and became the vice president of the student chapter here at the U in addition to taking on a role as a Teaching Assistant.

“Through COVID, I became really interested in student affairs and how to help other students,” says Martin. “This led to me joining IEEE as the Vice President and the Undergraduate Student Advisory Committee.”

Martin recently had her first publication in March. She intends to continue her Ph.D. with Priyank Kalla’s lab after completing her BS-MS program.

“I’m very passionate about what I have ended up doing with my research, so I am excited to continue that work in my current lab and eventually go on to work in the industry,” she says.

“I was initially a bit shocked to be chosen for this award — it is very humbling to be recognized among everyone in the Price College of Engineering,” says Martin. “I was very excited and happy that the things I have done and how I have treated others led to me being recognized by the College overall. I have strong beliefs about what it means to be a leader, so receiving the leadership award means a lot.”


Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor Award

Cynthia Furse

Electrical and computer engineering professor Cynthia Furse was awarded the Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor Award for her dedication to her students and her passion for mentorship. Dr. Furse has been a professor at the University of Utah for more than 20 years and has had an immeasurable impact on her students throughout this time.

Dr. Furse’s research primarily involves electromagnetics, intermittent fault location for aircraft wiring, antenna design and optimization, communications, bio-electromagnetics, and engineering education. She has been teaching since 1987 and pioneered the “Flipped Classroom” teaching method in 2007. She has over 120 publications and was most recently also awarded the 2021 Excellence in Mentoring Award, the 2019 University of Utah Distinguished Teaching Award, and the 2021-2023 IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society Distinguished Lecturer award among others.

“Electromagnetics is exciting, because although you can’t see the fields and waves, they allow us to image for medical applications, measure, locate and diagnose hidden faults in electrical systems, communicate with critical medical devices deep within the body, and otherwise interact with the world all around us,” says Dr. Furse. “Research is amazing, because you are always doing something new – something no one has ever done before — and doing this with my students is so much fun because they are curious and excited. It’s so new to them. But what they don’t know is that whatever they are doing, it’s new to me, too!”

Dr. Furse has mentored countless students during her time at the U, working on research projects with over 200 undergraduate students in ECE. She has graduated 23 Ph.D. students and 59 master’s students. Her students and mentees speak highly of both her passion for the research and her motivational and supportive nature.

“Dr. Furse is really great at taking a question and figuring out how to answer it the best she can, which is truly the heart of research — to be able to look at a question from many different angles,” says ECE student Evan Benoit, one of Dr. Furse’s mentees and students. “The longer I worked with her, the more I saw her excitement and enjoyment of research. She always wants to help out and is really good about setting aside time to ensure we have what we need to do our work.”

“I love working with my students, it’s just so much fun, but to be honored as well, it’s very humbling,” says Dr. Furse. “I always hope that our work is touching lives, making the world a better place. And I always hope that our time together helps my students learn and reach their dreams and goals. I hope that when they leave here, they go out into the world and help solve some of the world’s biggest problems. That’s what engineers do.”

“I was reflecting today, as this group of amazing students prepare to graduate, that I first started teaching them as freshmen, the most basic of basics,” she says. “And now, a few very short years later, as they present their senior design projects, they are clearly engineers, real engineers. They can do so much. I’m really proud of them.”